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B Side, Music

Davido’s Verse on Kizz Daniels’ “Twe Twe (Remix)”: Where Music Meets Poetry

Great poetry is characterised by the artistic use of literary elements like the extended metaphor — a comparison between two unlikely things. In Davido’s verse, this is well illustrated  

  • Chiedozie Oji Ude
  • 26th January 2024
Davido's Verse on Kizz Daniels’ “Twe Twe (Remix)”: Where Music Meets Poetry

2023 was a memorable year for popular Nigerian singer Davido. It was the year he released Timeless, an album of lyrically-soothing and versatile songs, each one as well crafted as the other. Just like the title of the album suggests, the songs contained have the ability to transcend time, being continuously ever-green, the same way Shakespeare’s sonnets outlive the ruthlessness of time.


Many will be quick to point out that the crowning glory of Davido’s achievements in 2023 was the first-time Grammy nomination he received for his artistry. However, we must also be conscientious enough to realise that, with or without winning the biggest music award there is, Davido has proven himself deserving of the status of a world-renown music legend. The modifier “world renown” is used because Davido’s music transcends borders: physical and even inter-genre ones.


When “inter genre” is used to depict Davido’s music, a bold claim is made, equating the songwriting in Davido’s latest feature, “Twe Twe (Remix)”, as a commingling of music and poetry. Walter Pater (4 August 1839 – 30 July 1894), an English essayist, art and literary critic once said, “All art constantly aspires to the condition of music.” Since poetry is an art form — as demonstrated by Roman writer Plutarch when he said, “Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks” — the stance that it incorporates musical elements that can justified. What is implied from Pater‘s statement is that there is a thin line between poetry and music.


Perhaps, the proper way to describe this is via the antimetabole created to elucidate this argument: “Music is poetry and poetry is music.” It is on this premise that Davido’s verse on the remix of Kizz Daniels’ “Twe Twe” can be declared genius — one that represents the masterful fusion of the poetic with the musical — despite its criticism.



Of course, great poetry is characterised by the artistic use of literary elements. One of such is the extended metaphor, that is, a comparison between two very unlikely things. In Davido’s verse, this is well illustrated. Smoothly entering the beat without breaking flow after Kizz Daniels’ rendition of the first verse and chorus, Davido is heard making allusions to the Bakassi Vigilante, through the exclamation “Isakaba”, a sobriquet given to this group, and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


In the context of this song, Davido uses the term “Isakaba” to croon about the awesome features of his muse, presumably a beautiful lady with a generous backside and in modern parlance “a banging body”. The insertion of Bakassi here is simply a metaphor for the muse’s backside, as many Nigerians humourously refer to women’s behinds using the expression “bakassi” — a pun for a lady’s butt. While the listener may yet be coming to terms with this comparison, Davido goes further to amplify the lady’s qualities by comparing her body to a tsunami, an extremely large wave in the sea caused, for example, by an earthquake. 


Perhaps, the most shocking reference is when Davido equates the lady’s “hotness” with the tragedy of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities decimated by the Allies during World War II. Davido’s method of comparison is questionable, but we cannot question that this line is the bomb. It suddenly gives more life and context to the song as it leaves no room for doubt that the addressee’s great qualities are of epic proportions. Little wonder popular singer and lyricist Johnny Drille had only words of acclamation as regards the verse.



Still on the poetic style used in this verse, the deployment of climax can be pointed out. In simple terms, climax refers to a build up of events from the smallest to the biggest. Here, this buildup is seen through the arrangement of different human and natural disasters based on their level of destruction. First, there is the allusion to Bakassi, a vigilante group that was created in 1998 by traders in Ariaria Market, Aba to combat criminality. This group, named Bakassi Boys or Isakaba, later became infamous for their spree of extra judicial killings.


After the reference to Bakassi, Davido mentions a tsunami. Of course, the destruction wrought by a tsunami exceeds whatever must have been done by the vigilante. The climatic point of these allusions is the reference to Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, two cities that were laid waste by the only recorded use of the atomic bomb in conflict. No doubt, this build-up of events adds to the poetic feel of Davido’s verse and underscores the magnitude of the muse’s allure.


The poeticity of the verse continues in the next line. The artist recounts how he has made a lot of mistakes by looking superficially at beautiful ladies (“plenty omoge”). This confession exemplifies Horace’s  stance in his Ars Poetica (translated as Art of Poetry). Horace affirmed that great poetry must possess the “utile et dulce” quality, that is, it must teach valuable lessons and also entertain.


In this song, Davido warns against the dangers of unbridled affections for the opposite gender. The entertainment quality of the verse is evinced through the playful insertion of “keke napepe” to create a humourous but lyrical internal rhyme with the chorus “twe twe”. To be more critical, we might observe that the excerpt “keke napepe” is a broader warning to men that womanising is an act that can make them go broke, thus emphasising the didactic quality of the verse. 


Lastly on the poetic elements, we have the assimilation of local colour into the verse. In poetry or literature, local colour has to do with the presentation of the features and peculiarities of a particular locality and its inhabitants. In this song, we have the infusion of Yoruba language by Kizz Daniel. Davido takes this further by making reference to other Afrobeats hits such as Ice Prince’s “Oleku” and Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe’s “Osondi Owendi”. All these elements no doubt makes this verse one of Davido’s best crafted in a while. 


In all, music and poetry are Siamese twins that cannot easily be separated. Of course, Davido has been able to prove this inter-genre relationship through his verse on Kizz Daniels’ “Twe Twe (Remix)”. Despite the seemingly controversial nature of the references made in Davido’s verse, it should be remembered that they are extended metaphors that should not be taken at face value, that is, a deeper reflection will reveal that these references have little or no correlation to the actual events they portray. 

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